Towanda, Pennsylvania – The Friends of the Bradford County Library, a library advocacy nonprofit, has decided to drop their lawsuit against the Bradford County Commissioners and the Library Advisory Committee. The lawsuit accused county officials of violating the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act by holding meetings that were not open to the public.
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act requires public officials to conduct most meetings in an open and public environment. According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged that the Library Advisory Committee had formally announced that their meetings would not be open to the public and would not allow for public participation or comment. The lawsuit was filed on November 27 in the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas’ Civil Division.
The dispute began after the commissioners created the Library Advisory Committee to make recommendations on the future usage of the Bradford County Library’s West Burlington facility. Initially, the committee held their meetings open to the public, but later decided to hold them privately after the commissioners’ legal counsel stated that the group was not subject to the Sunshine Act.
On December 28, the commissioners announced the committee’s recommendations, including hiring a library consultant and keeping the library open with suggested changes. The Friends of the Bradford County Library expressed their satisfaction with the recent acts of transparency from county officials and decided to discontinue the lawsuit.
The county commissioners are pleased that the lawsuit has been dropped. They claim that the lawsuit cost taxpayers unnecessary legal fees and that the allegations against their legal counsel were unfounded.
The controversy surrounding the Bradford County Library began when the commissioners raised concerns about the library’s budget and the underutilization of its West Burlington facility. However, local residents strongly advocated for keeping the library open in its current form.
The library’s budget constitutes a small percentage of the county’s overall budget. In 2024, the library received approximately 0.65% of the total budget. The commissioners stated that the library is funded through property taxes, with money transferred from the general funds to finance it.
Despite the end of the lawsuit, the Friends of the Bradford County Library hope that county officials will continue to prioritize transparency in their actions. They believe that the library plays a significant role in serving the people of Bradford County.
In conclusion, the library advocacy nonprofit, Friends of the Bradford County Library, has dropped their lawsuit against the Bradford County Commissioners and the Library Advisory Committee. The lawsuit alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, but the parties have reached a resolution.